Updated July 17th, 2014: There seems to be only two teams with strong odds of acquiring Kevin Love at this point. The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly agreed to send Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota in any potential deal. In addition to that, the Timberwolves continue to ask for Klay Thompson from the Golden State Warriors in discussions for Love.
With that said, there are other options out there. Update information provided throughout this article.
It’s highly likely that Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love will be moved this offseason. He wants out and the powers to be in Minnesota seem willing to move him. A player of this caliber rarely hits the trade market, which means ample teams will be giving Flip Saunders a call. However, there are only a handful of teams out there that could make a realistic play for Love.
Today, we take a look at five potential trade destinations for the All-Star power forward and what each deal might look like when all is said and done.
Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Andrew Wiggins
This deal would give Minnesota three young building blocks in Thompson, Waiters and Wiggins. Waiters, who averaged nearly 16 points and three boards this past season, would act as an upgrade over Kevin Martin at shooting guard. Meawnhile, Thompson would bring his near double-double averages with him to Minnesota. Adding Wiggins to the mix would make this trade a no-brainer for a Timberwolves team ready to move on from Love.
As it relates to the Cavs, they would get another true All-Star to team up with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. While it would be a lot to give up for one player, Cleveland needs to show Irving that it is serious about winning.
Kevin Love and J.J. Barea to the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer, Nikola Mirotic, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, 16th and 19th Picks in 2014 and First-Round Pick in 2015.
Update (7/17): With the acquisition of Pau Gasol and amnesty of Carlos Boozer, Chicago is no longer a realistic option for Love.
Probably not as attactive as an option for Minnesota, it could very well decide to utilize Love as a chip to acquire multiple first-round picks and some cap room. Boozer would either be amnestied or the Timberwolves would decide to use that $16.5 million expiring contract at some point in the season to add a top-tier player in a trade. Dunleavy would also be a throw in for salary cap reasons and an expiring contract. The point of this deal would be to pick up a high-upside foreign player in Mirotic and three picks, enabling Flip Saunders to continue building the team internally while creating some solid future trade assets.
For the Bulls, this would be a no-brainer. They’d get rid of Boozer’s mega contract while adding a proven All-Star to team up with what they hope will be a healthy Derrick Rose moving forward. A starting five of Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer, Love, Rose and a potential free-agent acquisition would immediately push Chicago up a notch in the Eastern Conference.
Kevin Love and Kevin Martin to the Golden State Warriors for David Lee, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes
Unfortunately for anyone expecting a trade between these two teams to work out, there are a couple things holding it back. First off, the Warriors have no first-round draft picks to offer. By that I mean…none. That’s going to be a hard sell for a Timberwolves team that is clearly heading into rebuilding mode, sound familiar? Second, Golden State is going to find it really hard to part ways with Klay Thompson, who took a step towards All-Star status this past regular season.
With that said, what the Warriors lack in draft picks, they more than make up with proven players and one contract in David Lee that will become a valuable trade asset at some point in the not-so-distant future. Thompson and Barnes are potentially the two-best options in a package deal for the Timberwolves. They would have a solid young core of three players, teaming those two up with Ricky Rubio.
For the Warriors, trading Thompson might be a hard pill to swallow, but something they might have to do if they want to bring in Love. In this scenario, they get a decent short-term replacement in Kevin Martin, who knows how to score. Adding Love to the mix would make the Warriors an instant contender for a NBA Championship over the next few years. It’s allo about what they’re willing to give up in order to take that next step.
Kevin Love and Chase Budinger to the Boston Celtics for Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Keith Bogans, sixth and 17th Picks in the 2014 Draft
Draft picks, draft picks and more draft picks. Acquiring Bass and Bogans would be as nothing more than salary cap fillers and potential expiring contracts to trade in future deals. Green has never taken that next step, but could be a decent complementary player. In addition to getting a budding star in Sullinger, the Timberwolves would pick up two valuable picks in a talented draft class. Just imagine them being able to come out of the draft with three of the first 17 picks. Think Julius Randle, James Young and Adreian Payne. Not too shabby.
Instead of trading away their only valuable asset in Rajon Rondo, the Celtics could very well look to find another All-Star to team up with him in an effort to to get back into playoff contention. An inside-out game of Rondo and Love would be mighty attractive to the Celtics. In reality, this deal might make the most sense. It would, however, leave the Celtics incredibly thin at the other three positions on the court.
Kevin Love and Ronnie Turiaf to the Indiana Pacers for David West, Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson
Update (7/17): With Stephenson now moving on to the Charlotte Hornets, the Pacers would have to get a bit more creative in order to make a deal work. Roy Hibbert is an option to be moved, but the Timberwolves already have a true center in the form of Nikola Pekovic, who still has a few years remaining on his deal. In addition to that, Gorgui Dieng is seen as a solid long-term option at that position.
In order for Indiana, who needs to upgrade its roster to acquire Love, it would need to get a third team involved to take on Hibbert.
You have heard the rumors of Indiana not exactly being too happy with Stephenson’s antics on the court. He seems to feel a bit slighted by both his role on the team and the perception that he’s not a true star. The only thing that might appease him at this point is a fresh start on a team that would rely on him more than the Pacers have. Add West and Turner to the mix and the Timberwolves would be acquiring three starters for a player, in Love, that already wants out. It’s hard to argue against the talent that any of the three players Minnesota could potentially bring in here.
For the Pacers, Love would be yet another core piece to a team that needs to take that next step. While we have no idea how the rest of the Eastern Conference Finals will play out, it’s highly unlikely that Frank Vogel’s squad will win the title. And that has to be the primary goal here. Adding Love to the mix with Paul George, Roy Hibbert and George Hill would only improve the Pacers’ chances moving forward.